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shadrachanki

shadrachanki

Currently reading

Hoard of the Dragon Queen (D&D Adventure)
Wizards RPG Team
The Power of Everyday Missionaries
Clayton M. Christensen
Art of Thank You
Connie Leas
Lectures on Faith
Joseph Fielding Smith
The Avengers Omnibus, Vol. 1
Jack Kirby, Stan Lee
John Adams
David McCullough
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel
Neil Gaiman
The Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
Barry Schwartz

The Devil's Breath

The Devil's Breath - David Gilman This book is in the same general vein as the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz: a capable and resourceful teenage boy from England travels to some sort of exotic locale and faces a variety of dangers before saving the day. Lots of action and gadgets, and Gilman introduces a mystical element with the inclusion of African shamanism. If you are looking for high-stakes adventure and plenty of action it may be worth checking this book out, but you will also need to be able to overlook some aspects of the writing that I found distracting.



Gilman is rather obviously accustomed to writing scripts for television shows. I counted at least fourteen distinct viewpoint characters while reading, and the book is just under 400 pages in length (American hardcover release). That makes for a lot of jumping around, even within scenes, and whenever it happens the story turns rather clunky. A television show is better designed for quick changes in viewpoint, and it can accommodate more viewpoints in a single episode than a novel can. (It did not help matters for me that some of the jumps seemed solely for the purpose of explaining why the adults in the story were keeping vital information from the teenagers, even when giving the teenagers that information would have vastly simplified matters for everyone involved. In other words, it felt very artificial as I was reading it.)



It was also just as obvious to me that one of the goals of this story is to impart information in order to educate the readers about environmental and social issues. When information and issues are so obviously presented as such in a novel -- when the main purpose and goal is not to tell a good story -- I tend to resent it, since I was expecting a story and not a lecture or lesson. Including morals and information and serious discussion in a story isn't bad -- it's actually quite important -- but they don't have to be blatant, and it is probably better if they aren't. For one thing, slowing (or stopping) the story in order to explain something can contribute to clunky writing, and in an action/adventure/thriller type story you really don't want to put a high-speed chase on hold in order to describe the countryside. It tends to throw the reader out of the story.